Dean Clough

March 15, 2023

Portico Darwin: You Got Lucky Baby


2 Minute Read
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Yes, it's that time of year again!  It's our 3 year Covid-19 anniversary tomorrow!  Thank God that's over.  It is over, right?

Let's just say it is and today turn our attention (again) to the issue of wealth inequality in America.  But I am going to approach it from a slightly different angle. 

First, I will share some compelling charts I found at the highly regarded and respected Pew Institute, to refresh your memory of how grossly distorted things have gotten; all figures have been adjusted for inflation.
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OK:  you probably were aware of all of that.  So what's my new angle? 

It's my complaint that the wealthy don't understand a lot of their standing in life is attributable to luck in one form or another.  For example, luck in terms of where on Earth and to whom they were born.  Those are completely random, yet are make/break.  And by extension, the mega rich further don't recognize that the misfortune of others is often not of their own doing.  In other words, they had bad luck.

Combined, this makes many rich people quite resistant to helping those less fortunate via increased taxes and wealth redistribution.  I believe this is wrecking America and it's only getting worse.

(For the record:  philanthropy has nothing to do with wealth redistribution.   Philanthropy is nice, but shouldn't the public have a say in how the spoils of society are spent?  Here's a great book on the whole subject that I can heartily recommend if you'd like to learn more.)

I've always defined luck as the intersection of opportunity and preparation.  Ask anyone with decent emotional intelligence that's been successful and they'll attribute luck as a big factor.  And to me, the more financially successful one gets, the luckier you've been.

That's because there's simply no other way than luck to explain how a typical CEO is now paid 670 times the average employee:  they are just not that good nor can possibly add that much value.  No doubt they've worked hard, but they also got lucky.  Very lucky.   How else to justify CEOs in 2022 making an average of $10.6 million, while the median worker received $23,968? 

Or that the net worth of just 3 families in the US is greater than the total for the bottom 50% of the entire American population?

Yet I've observed that a lot of wealthy and beyond people really, really think their success is because of their unique abilities, and especially:  their grit.  As Seamus Colonnity would say, "If these Goddamned welfare queens would just put in a day's hard work like I do and my father did before me, they'd be just fine."

Which of course is complete bullshit.  A huge issue in America today is that plenty of people work their asses off - too many on multiple jobs - yet barely make it.  Or don't make it at all.  

But vocational training, student loan forgiveness, daycare for their children, and heaven forbid, basic healthcare - all funded by increased taxes on the wealthy - might just give the less fortunate some . . . better luck.  


Yet, there's always hope.  Although not a part of the UNWASHED MASSES, this came in as I was researching today's post.

The Patriotic Millionaires
Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.


No, not Tom Petty.  Today's subject was serious enough that I want to balance it with something completely ridiculous.  And what could be more ridiculous than Loverboy and Get Lucky?
Of course there are the sugary hits, including the apropos-for-today "Lucky Ones".  But don't miss the very good album cut, "Take Me to The Top".  No, really:

Loverboy "Take Me to The Top" Live, Vancouver, May 21, 1982

About Dean Clough